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VBR M3U (Hi-Fi)
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This audio is part of the collection: 78 RPMs & Cylinder Recordings
It also belongs to collection: Music, Arts & Culture
Artist/Composer: Linda Solomon, The Evening Birds
Keywords: Popular; 1930s; 78rpm
|TheLionSleepsTonight1939_vbr_mp3.zip||VBR ZIP||2.6 MB|
|Audio Files||VBR MP3||Ogg Vorbis|
|Linda Solomon, The Evening Birds - The Lion Sleeps Tonight (1939)||
Subject: Another Copyrighted Song
If you use this song in a You Tube Video; It will be tagged as the rights being owned by IODA. For now they will let you use the song, but an ad will appear under your video. At some point, there is always the risk that any video using one of these copyrighted songs could be pulled.
Subject: Lion Sleeps Tonight Returned to Africa
Let's not forget the haunting rendition of The Lion Sleeps Tonight by Ladysmith Black Mombazo's CD THE GIFT OF THE TORTOISE, a musical rendition of South African tales for children. The group delivered their version as a lullaby that is unbelivably beautiful and clearly honored its heritage.
Subject: The artist is Solomon Linda
If there was ever a song that just about encapsulates the carnivorous aspects of the music industry and how one small song can morph into a monster it is probably this one. It is also a great example of ownership, or lack of, in art. Who makes the art does not necessarily make the money and who makes the art may not know who is really making the money and how much – all they often know is that it is not them. And so it goes with “Mbube” (lion) that as happily wonderful as the song is remains a tragic tale for its creator. “Mbube” was written possibly as far back as 1929 although officially a decade later and ended up an improvisational piece for South African Solomon Linda to sing with his group of mates, ‘The Evening Birds’. Linda with his soaring falsetto above the other singer’s alto and bass sounded very much like the early incantations of doo-wop. Considering that it was recorded in 1939, the sound is decades ahead of what was to come in the US and probably would have been a very successful doo-wop band in their own right. He sold the song to Gallo records, where he was working as a record packer for the princely sum of ten shillings or roughly less than $2. In all likelihood the poor bastard actually made more from packing his record than recording it when more than 100,000 of Solomon Linda’s classic sold. If Linda thought that was the end of his torment he was to be sadly mistaken. Alan Lomax who was carrying on his father’s incredible work of going anywhere there’s a song for the Library of Congress unearthed an old original recording of the Evening Birds ‘Mbube’ and gave it to Pete Seeger – a man even hungrier than himself for all music black and different. It should be mentioned that John A Lomax and his son Alan were a father and son combination that had discovered, saved and fostered the essence of all we believe to be great in music. I would go as far as to say that without their efforts music would be sounding very, very different – certainly a hell of a lot whiter. Pete Seeger and the Weavers were singing the songs of Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie at the height of the Cold War and McCarthy era; small wonder Hoover had them in his sights as communists. It was this band and people like Harry Bellefonte who sang gospel, blues and brought to fore what was otherwise lost and ignited the ‘folk boom’ that later paved the way for Baez and Dylan etc. Seeger thought “Mbube” was a traditional African Zulu song about the glories of Shaka and had no idea that there was an impoverished fucker back in South Africa working for a penny under the appalling apartheid regime. The song became a huge hit in America under the title of “Wimoweh”. Maybe one of the reasons for changing the title was the thought of introducing a song called “Ma Boob” to middle America in the 50’s. The ‘wimoweh’ part is a simple misreading of the Zulu chant through Linda’s version of ‘uyimbube’ For many years Seeger, a champion of making sure that forgotten artists received both artistic credit as well as their due royalties was mortified when he found out later this was not in fact a traditional track but an original where the writer was very much alive and being shafted. It then got worse if that was possible for Solomon Linda as his song had not anywhere near finished making a mint for people. Royalties and ownership is a tricky thing. It was a long established practice in Tin Pan Alley where songs were effectively nicked all or in part from the traditional or public domain, words or meter altered (sometimes), given a bit of glam and copyrighted often under pseudonym of the owners of the publishing company. There are some truly classic and often apocryphal stories which unfortunately were steeped a little too deeply in fact. Harold Leventhal a song plugger for Irving Berlin who went on to manage and promote The Weavers, Woody Gutherie, Joan Baez and many more claimed authorship to a tune he nicked only to realise later it was the basis for the Indian National Anthem.
Howie Richmond who was founder of TRO which ran Folkways had a string of pseudonyms he used to nick, rebrand and publish so that TRO and himself would get royalties. Also if he was overtly challenged on authorship, such as when he tried to claim ownership of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, “John Henry” or “Michael Rows the Boat Ashore” Howie Richmond himself would not be looking like a thieving schmuck. As was the case with this song because although Seeger may have been clueless, TRO/ Folkways lawyers and Howie Richmond whose pseudonym, ’Paul Campbell’ is on “Wimoweh” actually negotiated with Gallo and came to the conclusion South African copyright did not extend to the US so “go fuck yourself” and hey presto Paul Campbell, song writing genius comes up with a winner. After the Kingston Trio, Jimmy Dorsey and a few others had a hack at “Wimoweh” in stepped The Tokens who were certainly not folk, black or understanding of the songs origins. Amazingly enough the same guy that wrote lyrics to “Wonderful World” for Louis Armstrong and “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.” For Elvis had a hand in adding lyrics and creating “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” – George David Weiss. He added the “In the jungle the mighty jungle" part but what he really did was copyright it as his own through Abilene Music Publishers that is owned by Weiss. Coming under the heading of ‘No honour among thieves’ Linda’s song was suddenly written officially and copyrighted as a separate song to “Wimoweh” by Luigi Creatore, Hugo Perett and George David Weiss with no sign of Solomon Linda or “Mbube” or even Paul Campbell & TRO. So the monster of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” was born as a huge hit for the Tokens and RCA Victor in 1961: Meanwhile across the seas in Soweto the following year Solomon Linda died of renal failure, broken heart and so utterly impoverished not having received a cent of royalties that his wife could hardly afford to have him buried and it was certainly without a headstone. Maybe if it is alright for Mozart it is alright for Solomon Linda... nup, that is just knackered isn’t it? It should be noted that in 1983 Folkways paid Regina Linda, Solomon's wife a dollar for the renewal of rights on 'Mbube' and a further dollar for worldwide rights. This in turn was purchased by Abilene Music. This song became a number one hit again in 1982 with Tight Fit and later again received another fillip being showcased Disney’s 1994 brilliant “The Lion King” with Timon and Pumbaa and suddenly the song started selling all over again. It was also show cased in the Broadway version of “The Lion King” Miriam Makeba known also as “Mama Africa” she was effectively exiled by having her passport cancelled in 1960 while overseas in London working with Harry Bellefonte and never discovered the fact until she tried returning for her mother’s funeral. She became a powerful advocate for civil rights, human rights and an end to apartheid. She was greatly responsible for getting the entertainment industry behind the push for Mandela to be released. After 30 years she returned home in 1990. She first recorded “Mbube” on her 1960 self titled album and sung it live often telling the story of Solomon Linda every chance she got –pointing out what a disgrace the music industry but more particularly the US music publishing industry was. Along with the “Click Song” this is one of my favourite Makeba songs. Although the Tokens have been credited with doing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" on hearing the Weavers it would be no small coincidence that both this song and a year later "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" come out on the same label. George Weiss, in one conversation with Miriam Makeba would have discovered the true origins of this song. If there is a slightly happy ending to this, Abilene Music Publishers were forced to pay royalties back to Solomon Linda’s impoverished daughters that amounted to a few million. The ruling was retrospective back to 1987 and does not touch TRO. The journalist Rian Malan wrote an article for "Rolling Stone" exposing this disgrace. The outrage that it provoked in the wake of Mandela being released saw a court case mounted based upon an old British law that regardless of what transpires the rights of ownership revert to the heirs after 25 years. Thus 25 years after Solomon died, royalties go back to the daughters since 1987. However the South African courts could not attack Abilene Music directly as they have no property in South Africa so they went for Disney who had licensed the song off Abilene. The court found in favour of Solomon Linda's family and did so by holding Disney licences in South Africa including Mickey Mouse. Settlement was assured when the case began in 2006 . Working on the fact that most of the daughters lived in a tin shed up to that point, one had already died of AIDS that is rampant in South Africa and some justice is better than no justice it is a victory of sorts. What the ruling did do was clearly state who really wrote “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” The Linda heirs will receive payment for past uses of The Lion Sleeps Tonight and an entitlement to future royalties from its worldwide use. The Lion Sleeps Tonight is acknowledged as derived from Mbube. Solomon Linda is acknowledged as a co-composer of The Lion Sleeps Tonight and will be designated as such in the future. A trust will be formed to administer the heirs’ copyright in Mbube and to receive on their behalf the payments due out of the use of The Lion Sleeps Tonight.
Subject: AWESOME ROOTS MUSIC
Thanks so much for the upload
Subject: A bit inaccurate
The performer's name is Solomon Linda, not Linda Solomon (the group is correctly identified as the Evening Birds). The name of the song is Mbube, named for the Zulu harmonic style of singing; it didn't become "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" until after it passed through the Weavers ("Wimoweh") and then the Tokens. I'm a little passionate about this subject because Linda didn't get the credit he deserved any of the times other groups took his song and made it their own -- including when Disney used the song in The Lion King without giving any royalties or even due credit for the composition.
Wikipedia has a decent history here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mbube_(song)
Slim and Slam - Tutti Frutti 1938 is older than the 50's. some oldies are forgotten such as goose grease and bears oil and It's a good thing that cows don't fly.
Makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up! Want to know more about the origin of this song.
I agree with cookieman! Personally, I had no idea that this song had been around that long, so it's a revelation to hear the original version of this old classic!
I found some history here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lion_Sleeps_Tonight
Subject: What A Gem!
Amazing to hear the original recording of this!